Residents and Developers Square Off Again along Greenville Avenue

Another in an occasional series of Lower Greenville Avenue zoning change applications was turned down by a unanimous vote of the City Plan Commission on Feb. 5. For years, there have been sporadic attempts to change residentially-zoned parcels of land to commercial zoning for parking or other uses.

Invariably, neighborhood activities have organized to hold the line on the loss of any single-family, or in this case multifamily, zoning to what many in the neighborhoods see as encroachment. This time, an application was made to rezone a row of houses on Hope Street between LaVista and Oram so that they could be used for more parking for lowest Greenville Avenue businesses.

Each time one of these cases comes up, arguments fly back and forth about whether more parking lots would take cars off of residential streets, or instead would simply increase crowding, noise and traffic at the expense of adjacent residential areas. Recent residential development in the area strengthens the hand of those arguing that area property is now better used for single-family, townhome or apartment uses.

After at least 15 years that I can remember of smoldering disagreement on this issue that from time to time erupts into a hotly-contested zoning donnybrook, no one seems to have any hard proof for their position either way, which always seems to place the debate on a more or less metaphysical level, with each interest group convinced of the indubitable truth of its own theology.

The political reality is that Council District 14, in which the majority of the Lower Greenville area lies, has a lot of well-organized and seasoned neighborhood activists, who also tend to be very influential in Council elections – and as long as District 14’s council member (and that person’s Plan Commission appointee) listens hard to the neighborhoods, these cases will likely have similar results.

Finally, after several years of trying to bring you timely and informative news about zoning issues big and small in East Dallas and Lakewood, especially those not covered by our local daily, the Advocate is giving me the opportunity  to do an expanded column on broader civic issues, which I hope will be of interest, and, I hope, provocative of thought and debate.

I’m looking forward to bringing you some opinions on where we as a community are and where we might be, or ought to be, headed in the future. I hope to hear from you in response, whether pro or con.

 


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